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Updates from Practical Tax 2018

Jane Walker reports on the 2018 Practical Tax Conference in North Queensferry.

Scotland in the spotlight…

Friday began with a bonus session on Scottish taxes from Carl Bayley. “Interaction between the Scottish and UK tax systems has created an incredible level of complexity for Scottish taxpayers… For example, there are effectively eleven tax bands for self-employed Scottish taxpayers, and Scotland’s landlords are seeing UK rules on restriction of interest relief being exacerbated by higher tax rates and lower tax thresholds”, said Carl, highlighting some of the issues raised.

Exploring employment tax

After a formal welcome from Conference hosts Keith Proudfoot and David Heaton, it was time to explore employment taxes with Kate Upcraft.

Reflecting on her talk, Kate said, “There’s more and more complexity and less and less detailed guidance on how to implement that complexity – the breadth of what’s covered by the heading ‘employment taxes’ is huge – there’s so much for employers to consider, from Making Tax Digital, changes with student loans, deemed workers, and the new treatment of Termination Payments – to name just a few!”.

Bringing MBOs to life…

The afternoon got off to a dramatic start with Peter Rayney (and cast-mates Carl Bayley and Patricia Caputo) exploring the issues surrounding MBOs via the medium of a role-play session about a tyre company.

“Our session covered the importance of tax planning – both for the seller within the commercial deal structure and the management team with particular emphasis on business planning, affordability of debt servicing and income tax deductions,” said Peter.

What does Brexit mean for us?

Maria McConnell, Director and Head of VAT at French Duncan, made her ICAEW Practical Tax debut with a session on Brexit, Customs and VAT.

Exploring the huge changes that will come into effect at 11pm on 29 March 2019, Maria’s session prompted many questions from delegates over the course of the Conference.

With so many issues to take into account, we asked Maria how she tackled delivering a session on one of the biggest issues in business; “I was aiming to pick out the perennial VAT issues for the year, and those which are on the horizon, and which hopefully had wide appeal. As most attendees will have a varied client base, I tried to make sure that I covered things that they will encounter, so digital sellers and, obviously, Brexit had to be in there, as that will affect everyone who trades internationally at some level or other.”

Rebecca explores the issues

Rebecca Benneyworth is one of the Conference’s longest serving speakers, and one of the most prolific; this year she presented sessions on MTD and Digital Issues, as well as delivering two Small Business Tax Updates.

In her session on MTD and other HMRC digital issues, Rebecca outlined the practical implications of the MTD for VAT regime, explaining in some detail exactly what changes will have to be made to record keeping in order to comply with the new regulations. She highlighted that many of the fears about how more complex businesses such as partially exempt would cope have not come to pass, as the requirements recognise that some elements of the VAT calculations will still have to be done manually, which is a great relief. Delegates ended the session pretty confident that they can support clients with the first phase of the MTD project.

Rebecca’s Small Business Tax Update sessions covered a great deal of ground, from the latest thoughts on tax efficient extraction of funds from a small company to thoughts on incorporation. Delegates were also updated on changes affecting EIS investments, taxation of company cars and a wide variety of other practical areas.

A rather special session…

Day two started with was quickly dubbed “The Presidential Summit” – a discussion between ICAEW President, Paul Aplin, and CIOT President, Ray McCann.

Although his commitments as President meant that Paul’s time at the Conference was shorter than in previous years, he was delighted to attend; “This Tax Conference has always felt to me like a family affair, and I think that’s true for both for the people who attend and the speakers. It’s good to be here, I feel like I’m back together with my ‘tax family’!”

All change…

Making his Practical Tax debut, Pete Miller of The Miller Partnership, brought Saturday morning to a close with his session, “Corporate Losses and the new Substantial Shareholding Exemption”.

A lively end to the event…

The Conference ended with the Panel Session – an annual opportunity for delegates to ask the experts. Questions included the practicalities of transfer of unused IHT nil rate band; mineral royalties; Schedule 36 Notices; Entrepreneurs’’ Relief, and, of course, MTD.

A few words from Keith

Reflecting on the Conference, Keith Proudfoot said, “Fifteen hours of CPD in a relaxing setting has, once again, sent our delegates home both refreshed and enthused – and armed with valuable tax tips which will benefit their clients.

“Our delegates, who came from as far afield as Mull and Kent, have already given me great feedback; they particularly appreciate the informal atmosphere, which allows them to enjoy relaxed chats with our presenters – and each other – during the meal and coffee breaks. Our line-up of expert speakers brings both business experience and the insights that come from being among the leading lights of the ICAEW Tax Faculty and the CIOT.”

Keith continued, “Particularly enjoyable this year was the ‘Presidential Summit’ session with our own Paul Aplin and CIOT’s Ray McCann, who talked about working together with HMRC, and the valuable insights that this afforded our delegates.

“Like everyone else, I’m already looking forward to the 2019 Conference in North Berwick” he added.

Invaluable support…

As always, this year’s event was supported by CABA, who not only made information and resources available to attendees, but also funded places for delegates who may not otherwise have been able to attend the event.

Next year’s event…

Practical Tax 2019 takes place on 4 & 5 October at the MacDonald Marine Hotel, North Berwick.

A longer version of this article originally appeared on the ICAEW Scotland web pages